Can I apply for an E-2 visa in Canada if I am not a Canadian citizen?

Many of our clients who are in the U.S. on some sort of a non-immigrant visa and want to apply for an E-2 visa and don’t want to travel back home to their home country ask us whether they can apply for their E-2 visa in Canada.

This will depend on what type of non-immigrant visa you are in the U.S., how long have you been in the U.S., and whether you are residing in the U.S. at the time the E-2 application to the Consulate is submitted.

Please note that as a first time E-2 visa applicant, you will have to submit your E-2 application to the U.S. Consulate in Toronto.

When creating an account and scheduling your E-2 visa appointment with the U.S. Consulate in Toronto, you will have to select one of the following answers when applying for an E-2 visa:

  • I am a diplomat, other government official, Fulbright Scholar, participant in another U.S. Government sponsored program, a Native American or First Nations Member;
  • I am a Non Canadian Citizen residing in the U.S. and want to apply for a visa;
  • I am a Canadian Citizen who wants to travel to the U.S. ;
  • I am a Non Canadian Citizen residing in Canada who has completed the U.S. Nonimmigrant Visa Application (DS-160) form and want to apply for a visa.

Example 1

You are a national of Australia and you have been in the U.S. on an F-1 visa for 4 years. Your F-1 visa status will be expiring in a couple of months and you want to set up an E-2 business in the U.S. and apply for an E-2 visa in Canada so you don’t have to travel to Australia just for the E-2 visa interview.

As indicated above, you will be able to apply for an E-2 visa at the Consulate in Toronto if you are “a non-Canadian citizen residing in the U.S.”. If you have been living and studying in the U.S. for the past 4 years and you will be still residing in the U.S. at the time the E-2 application is submitted to the Consulate, then you can check option 2 above and submit your E-2 petition to the U.S. Consulate in Toronto. However, once your F-1 status expires and you leave the U.S., you would no longer be residing in the U.S. and you would not be able to apply in Canada.

Example 2

You entered the U.S. on ESTA or as a B-1/B-2 visitor and within 10 days of your entry in the U.S. you would like to submit the E-2 application to the Consulate in Toronto.

In this case, it may be more difficult to argue that you are “residing in the U.S.” at the time the application is submitted to the Consulate as you entered the U.S. very recently as a tourist/business visitor. In this scenario, the Consulate in Toronto may refuse to adjudicate the E-2 application and we would generally advise that you apply for an E-2 visa in your home country.

Example 3

You are a national of Croatia and you are living and residing in Croatia. You want to apply for an E-2 visa but you don’t want to apply at the U.S. Consulate in Croatia as you were previously denied an F-1 visa there and you would like to fly to Canada for a 1 month vacation and while there, you would like to attend your E-2 visa interview.

In this case, you will not be able to apply at the Consulate in Toronto. Because you are living and residing in Croatia at the time you will be submitting the E-2 application to the Consulate, none of the options above is applicable to your case. It would be a different scenario if you are a Non-Canadian citizen but you are residing in Canada (on some sort of work visa for example), as you could then select option 4 from the list above.

Please note that if you are a non-Canadian citizen who scheduled an E-2 interview appointment at the U.S. Consulate in Toronto, you should investigate before your E-2 visa interview whether you need a visa to enter Canada and make sure you apply for the necessary visa so you are not denied entry at the border.

Additionally, if you are not a Canadian citizen and you are applying for an E-2 visa in Canada during the Covid-19 global pandemic you may not be able to enter Canada, as Canada has very strict restrictions on who is allowed entry. You should speak with a Canadian Immigration Attorney on what are your options to enter Canada.

Please see our blog post discussing general principles of Third country nationals applying outside their home country when you click here.

Please see our blog discussing whether it’s better to apply for a visa at a Consulate or change status in the U.S. when you click here.

Please read our blog post on whether you have to have an office space for E-2 visa when you click here

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E-2 Visa Guide

We are happy to offer our E-2 visa guide that describes the E-2 visa requirements, renewal considerations and other advise to assist with your E-2 visa application. We will also send you information where you can sign up for free E-2 Webinars.   Our firm was founded on an E visa so we know what you are going through.  You can access our E-2 visa Service Page with several E-2 visa videos and articles by clicking here.

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